Re­fined and user-friendly mid-sized load hauler

New Zealand LCV - - 2017VAN GUIDE | VW T6 TRANSPORTER -

VOLKSWAGEN MEDIUM VAN, THE TRANS­PORTER T6, CAN TRACE its her­itage back to the air-cooled, rear-mounted flat four-en­gined T1 of the late 1940s.

Un­like its an­ces­tor, the T6 – the sixth gen­er­a­tion Trans­porter – runs a wa­ter-cooled in­line four cylin­der engine driv­ing the front wheels.

The de­sign­ers took the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” ap­proach to the styling, with the T6 bear­ing a strik­ing re­sem­blance to the last ex­am­ples of the facelifted T5 model it re­placed.

The styling is an evo­lu­tion of the T5’s, the chief dif­fer­ence be­ing the adop­tion of a grille that wears the cur­rent VW “face” that is fa­mil­iar from the sedan/hatch­back ranges.

Volkswagen NZ lists five mod­els in the range, start­ing with the Run­ner – VW’S name for the base mod­els in its van line-up – which is avail­able only with a five-speed man­ual gear­box, and a short-wheel­base body.

The T6 range is pow­ered by a 2.0-litre four-cylin­der tur­bod­iesel engine that is of­fered in three lev­els of tune.

The Run­ner gets a 75kw/250nm ver­sion. A 103kw/340nm TDI ver­sion is avail­able in short- and long-wheel­base T6s, and for op­er­a­tors want­ing more grunt, there’s a BI-TDI 132kw/400nm unit of­fered with the same wheel­base choices.

Aside from the Run­ner’s five-speed man­ual, T6s are avail­able with a six-speed man­ual or a seven-speed DSG au­to­matic trans­mis­sion. There’s a choice of front-wheel drive (FWD) or 4Motion (4WD).

Volkswagen says the Trans­porter can achieve com­bined cy­cle fuel econ­omy of 7.4 litres/100km for the Run­ner and the 103kw mod­els and 7.5 litres/100km for 132kw mod­els.

Though the DSG au­to­matic may be the pre­ferred choice for ease of op­er­a­tion in in­ner city stop/start traf­fic ap­pli­ca­tions.

But the man­ual T6 has one of the smoothest and most user-friendly clutches we’ve ex­pe­ri­enced in any van, so it’s no real hard­ship to use a man­ual form in­ner-city work.

In stan­dard form, the pay­load for SWB T6s is 881kg or 832kg for LWB mod­els.

How­ever, two op­tional, added-cost up­grade kits are avail­able, the first lift­ing the pay­load by 200kg, with the heavy-duty up­grade lift­ing it by 400kg.

The SWB T6 has an 11.9-me­tre turn­ing cir­cle and LWB mod­els can turn around in 13.2 me­tres.

With lengths of 5006mm and 5406mm for the short- and long­wheel­base mod­els re­spec­tively, both are 114mm longer that the T5 they re­place.

Load­ing from ei­ther side or through the rear door is helped by a low cargo floor and wide door open­ings.

SWB mod­els are fit­ted with six load­ing com­part­ment tie-down eyes; LWB mod­els have eight. Load com­part­ment length is 2572mm on the SWB model and 2975 on the LWB.

The T6 has a com­pre­hen­sive suite of pas­sive and ac­tive safety equip­ment. Driver and pas­sen­ger get airbags and lap/sash seat­belts that are ad­justable for height, al­though head and side airbags are an added-cost op­tion.

There are au­to­matic post-col­li­sion brak­ing, a driver drowsi­ness de­tec­tion sys­tem, day­time run­ning lights, and an elec­tronic diff lock.

Cruise-con­trol is stan­dard, along with elec­tric win­dows and cen­tral door-lock­ing; and the large, car-style ex­te­rior mir­rors are elec­tri­callyad­justable.

The multi-me­dia sys­tem is Blue­tooth com­pat­i­ble, and there are an SD card slot, a USB port and an AUX-IN socket.

Pric­ing starts at $39,990 for the Run­ner and tops out at $66,990 for the LWB 4MOTION DSG with the 132kw/400nm engine.

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